Kagura Zoom & YouTube live-stream Project 2022
(This project was done in September, 2022. Thank you so much for your supports.)
Kia ora. My name is Yoshimi Fujikawa, a post graduate student of University of Canterbury. Thank you for connecting with our Kagura project today.
This project is a development of our regular EITAKO exchange projects that we organise for educational and cultural volunteering to connect Aotearoa with Japan. The EITAKO exchange project started with a motivation to continue the relationships we had with Aotearoa and Japan which encountered various barriers because of the Covid pandemic. We hope that you can enjoy watching and learning about the Japanese traditional performance and stories.
Date: September 19th,
Time: 9:15am-10:30am(JPN time) / 12:15pm-1.30pm(NZ time)
The exchange went live even though Japan was in the middle of a big typhoon at that time. We all worked together to ensure that viewers could see the performance, interviews and discussion live, even though the change of plan mean that participation at the event locations was limited.
The LIVE stream video link URL is here:
Introduction of Kagura
Kagura is a Japanese performing art of expressing Japanese folklore stories about Kami (the Japanese deities) in japan.
Bitchū Kagura that we are watching today is performed by Bitchū regional people.
Bitchū is the western part of current Okayama prefecture (see the map).
Today, the children of Bitchū will show us their traditional performance, and we can watch two episodes of Kagura. They are about two kami: Sarudahiko-no-Mikoto and Susanoo.
1. Sarudahiko no mai (Sarudahiko’s dance)
Sarudahiko no mai is about Sarudahiko-no-Mikoto, a kami who guided Ninigi-no-Mikoto down to the humans’ world. Ninigi was the very first kami who landed in the humans’ world after being ordered here by the deity of the sun, Amaterasu-Ōmikami, to go and rule the human’s world.
Sarudahiko had a very red face like a monkey (or “saru” in Japanese), his nose was long, his back alone was over 2m long, and his eyes were shining like the divine mirror, Yatano-Kagami and his hair was white.
Sarudahiko had an extraordinary power to protect people by cutting out misfortune using his sword. Sarudahiko wore a sword, two fans and a hakama.
2. Orochi-Taiji (Saving a woman from a huge snake)
The story is about Susanoo-no-Mikoto. Susanoo was the deity of the Sea and Amaterasu’s brother. But due to his temper and tendency to not control his power, Amaterasu expelled him to the humans’ world.
Susanoo met a couple on his way and they asked Susanoo to save their daughter Kushi-Inada Hime from a huge snake. The snake was called Yamata-no-Orochi and it had 8 heads, and it was so big.
Susanoo accepted their request and he planned to kill Yamata-no-Orochi after making it drunk with sake. And he was successfully able to save Kushi-Inada Hime. After Yamata-no-Orochi was dead Susanoo found the sacred sword, Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi inside it. Susanoo gifted the sacred sword to Amaterasu.
Susanoo and Kushi-Inada Hime married.
So Susanoo became a heroic symbol and guardian to protect people, and his brave story became popular among people so it has been passed on even now.
Thank you to our supporters for this project.
- Bitchū - Kagura Sōja - Shachū Kodomo - Kagura Ikuseikai
- Aotahi UC
- Te Ara Koiora Trust
- Okayama Regional Council
- Sōja City Council